New York : For the first time ever astronomers have spotter two rare hyper-luminous starburst galaxies in the near space. It is rare to find even one such galaxy and finding two has left the astronomers in shock and happiness.
"Finding just one hyper-luminous starburst galaxy is remarkable in itself. Finding two of these rare galaxies in such close proximity is truly astounding," said Dominik Riechers, an astronomer at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York.
Collectively known as ADFS-27, the two hyper-luminous starburst galaxies have been found gradually merging into a single, massive elliptical galaxy. The ADFS-27 system has approximately 50 times the amount of star-forming gas as the Milky Way, said the study published in the Astrophysical Journal.
"Much of this gas will be converted into new stars very quickly," Riechers said.
"Our current observations indicate that these two galaxies are indeed producing stars at a breakneck pace, about one thousand times faster than our home galaxy," Riechers said.
From Earth, the ADFS-27 galaxy has been spotted at an approximate distance of about 12.7 billion light years. in the direction of the Dorado constellation. At this distance, astronomers viewed this system as it appeared when the universe was only about one billion years old.
"Considering their extreme distance from Earth and the frenetic star-forming activity inside each, it's possible we may be witnessing the most intense galaxy merger known to date," Riechers said.
Astronomers speculate that this merger may eventually form the core of an entire galaxy cluster. Galaxy clusters are among the most massive structures in the universe.
During its first impression, the European Space Agency's Herschel Space Observatory saw it as a red dot at a distant point.
These initial observations suggested that the apparently faint object was in fact both extremely bright and extremely distant.
Follow-up observations with the Atacama Pathfinder EXperiment (APEX) telescope confirmed these initial interpretations and paved the way for the more detailed observations.
With its higher resolution and greater sensitivity, the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) observatory in Chile precisely measured the distance to this object and revealed that it was in fact two distinct galaxies.
The pairing of otherwise phenomenally rare galaxies suggests that they reside within a particularly dense region of the universe at that period in its history, the astronomers said.
(With IANS inputs)